Northwest Nazarene 54, Seattle Pacific 73
Seattle Pacific was in control the whole time. The big issue? Turnovers on behalf of the crusaders with a whopping 19. There weren’t a bunch of concerning shooting numbers and the Crusaders rebounded really well -it was simply the turnovers that did them in. Their fouls shooting was less than ideal at 64%, but bigger fish: if they had shot 100% they still would’ve lost by 13. It was the turnovers. But the Crusaders still had a phenomenal season and took advantage of a mediocre GNAC.
NNU highlights: Alex Birketoft had six boards and five points; Erik Kinney had six boards and 16 points on awful shooting; Kevin Rima had three boards and five points along with a nasty five turnovers. Off the bench: Bouna N’Diaye had nine points and three boards.
SPU highlights: Riley Stockton had four boards, five assists, and thirteen points; Matt Borton had six boards and seven points; Mitch Penner had a full house with four boards, four assists, one steal, one block, two fouls, and 12 points; Cory Hutsen went back to normal with three boards and seven points while going 1-4 from the line. Off the bench: Joe Rasmussen had six points; Shawn Reid had 14 points and four boards; and Garrett Swanson had five points.
Not a bad game for the Falcons. They’re going to have their hands full with the Vikings, as everyone does.
Western Washington 88, Western Oregon 79
We called this one. We’re still in the camp that the Vikings’ll win the tournament, although the game against SPU should be really good. It’s not that WOU is bad, it’s that WWU did some major clean-up mid-season, really came together as a team, they’ve been through this before, they know how to win, their underclassmen are stepping up, they’ve bought in, and quite honestly: it’s beautiful to watch.
Viking highlights: RICARDO PLAYED 40 MINUTES, and had five assists and 14 points; Harris Javier had eight points; JEFF PARKER bounced back massively going 8-1o and scoring 20 points; Mac Johnson had eight points, eight assists, and 12 points -c’mon Mac, get a triple double tomorrow, we believe in you! Off the bench: Kyle Impero had eight boards, four assists, and 12 points; Joey Schreiber had 15 points and four boards.
Wolf highlights: Devon Alexander had 13 points; Julian Nichols had five boards, five assists, and 15 points; Jordan Wiley had 13 points; Andy Avgi had a whopping 29 points along with six boards. No bench play.
Neither the Wolves nor the Crusaders drive us insane, so… not really worth it to pick on them now that they’ve lost. The Wolves may or may not still be playing. The Crusaders… eh, we’re not impressed by Mike Wright, but he’s not nearly as bad as some of the other selfish players in our conference, so… not worth it.
Cal Baptist 78, Azusa Pacific 67
Somewhat surprising result, but CBU is a good team and had a lot of motivation. Have a hard time thinking that it’s going to displace APU as the host, but it could. Not entirely sure how much it matters -both schools are in the LA-area, if you won’t cross the metro to see your team play, why would you cross campus? Crossing campus actually includes walking. Yuck. At least if it’s across the city you get to drive /sarcasm.
BYU Hawaii 98, Dixie State 75
That’s a good old fashioned shellacking. Hoping that the committee doesn’t take pity on BYU-H and decide to split the tournament -there’s this uneasy feeling in our gut that it could happen even though we really, really, really don’t want it to. It’s kind of good for the GNAC -BYU-Hawaii beat SPU and CWU by more than SPU and WOU beat Dixie State, so strength of schedule wise it could be good.
Cal Baptist vs. BYU-Hawaii in the championship game: Not sure who to pick; we’re not Pac-West experts by any stretch and this tournament was a bit topsy turvy.
Stanislaus 60, Chico State 72
Not unexpected, not a bad result. Chico is a good team. The game was back and forth for a while before Chico State ultimately got it under control. They’re good but not great. They could win a game in the tournament.
Humboldt State 68, Cal Poly Pomona 78
This game went back and forth until finally Cal Poly Pomona put it away. If you’re Western Oregon, you’re breathing a sigh of relief. Cal Poly Pomona… part of the mediocrity that’s reigning on the west this year. They’re a good team, they’ve been here before, blah blah blah, but there’s no telling what they’ll do against Chico. Those are the top two teams, it wouldn’t be unfortunate for both Chico and Cal Poly Pomona to get a bid, there are arguments for both, but… we’ll see.
Seems a bit silly to discuss this, but… just because people are having thoughts anyway, this is in no way seeded, just the teams that we think are in, on the bubble, or whose bubbles have popped:
Dixie State -really want to put them on the bubble, but don’t think we can do that.
Chico State (if not CCAA winner)
Cal Poly Pomona (if not CCAA winner)
Seattle Pacific* (if not the GNAC winner)
Western Washington* (if not the GNAC winner)
From a GNAC perspective, I really, really, really like WWU. Yes, we’ve been in their corner all year, but they’ve just done so many things coming down the stretch in terms of unselfish play, bench play, rebounding, assisting -all of the things that make up a good team. Their arguably best player had a bad game today, but they still won convincingly over a WOU team firing on all cylinders. At this point, I’d give WWU an at-large ahead of WOU because their non-conference resumes are pretty similar and yet WWU’s been convincing at the end and WOU hasn’t so much.
SPU is a hard thing to say. They’re a good team. They have a better non-conference record than WOU, especially knowing what we know now (BYU-H vs PLNU). They do well even when not firing on all cylinders. However, D1 speak: I’d rather play SPU than Cal Poly Pomona; I’d take SPU over Chico State. I don’t know what I’d tell you in regard to SPU or WOU. I think I’d take SPU over WOU which tends to say that WOU should get the nod, but… that’s all on the basis of Andy Avgi. And as was demonstrated tonight: SPU doesn’t need everyone playing well: just okay. WOU needs all five of their starters firing in order to win.
It’s a big toss-up here in GNAC land. We’ll see what we’re thinking tomorrow. This could change by the time the preview of tomorrow’s games goes up because learning to embrace disagreeing with yourself is a quality part of every college education.
How awesome is this madness? We love it. Game day previews up tomorrow at 10am PST.